The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 2

    Groped

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 4

    Burns

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 9

    Groped

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash